3 Common job search mistakes in a downturn

Nothing is normal about life right now, including searching for a job

Unfortunately, layoffs are all too common in today’s turbulent economic time. The number of unemployed workers in our marketplace continues to rise every day. If you are one of these unemployed, don’t make these three common job search mistakes.

Underestimating the emotional impact of job loss

Job loss for people in the United States — a country where many people’s work and self-worth are interchangeable — can be an extremely traumatic experience, often leading many to despair and depression.  “Dismissal from work” ranks among the top ten stressful life events that contribute to illness. In 2019, Gallup reported that 3 of out 5 people will seek support for depression after losing their job. I predict this number to be even more significant because of the psychological trauma of the stay-at-home orders.

If you are one of the millions who have filed for unemployment because of your job loss, keep in mind that you will cycle through the various stages of grief after being laid off. Even if you are a strong, confident executive, this layoff will not result in your typical job search. This is why it’s important to seek outside support with either a counselor or psychologist. Call your Employee Assistance Program for resources and lean on your dedicated outplacement career coach to help you get out of your own head, focus on future possibilities and maintain hope.

Assuming the search will be easy

You may have a misconception about the current marketplace. The truth is, if you haven’t been “on the market” in a while, the scenery has changed tremendously. Yes, it may be a dreary outlook because of the economic downturn, but there are companies who are still hiring. However, your search will need to be adjusted for the marketplace.

First, you must identify transferable skills. For example, if you are accountant and have spent your career in the oil and gas industry, you need to pinpoint and focus on the skill of accounting. Then, update your resume and other marketing material with your knowledge and skills of accounting – don’t highlight the industry, but rather focus on the function. Further, because you are home, the use of social media and personal websites are prevalent. The advent of the one-page biographic and the way your resume is formatted is different now than it used to be. Making these adjustments will lead to a more successful search.

Going at it alone

Networking is still king – upwards of 85% of jobs are secured through someone the job seeker knows – and personal marketing materials and a solid plan are key to opening the right doors. Networking just looks a little different today; it’s more distant, and frankly, for my introverted friends, more friendly. Take advantage of all the virtual coffee dates and virtual networking events that are available. Partner with a job search coach who can help you to think and utilize social media channels differently and who can help you strategize how and when you network to accelerate your job search success.

Categories: COVID-19, Human Resources